I don't even want to hear his excuse.
There can be no rational explanation. It's impossible. His decision to go with Timlin and then Lopez -- and leave his best arm (who had not pitched at all in the series) in the pen -- was inexcusable. He should be fired. This is a man who does not want to win.
In a playoff-caliber battle, Curt Schilling gave everything he had. He had waited through a one-hour rain delay, and thrown 73 pitches through four innings. Knowing he had to go deep into the game, he fought his way through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, needing only 10, 14 and 12 pitches, retiring nine of 10 Yankees.
David Ortiz wanted to win. His long home run broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning and he hustled his way to a double leading off the bottom of the ninth. Manny Ramirez drove in the first run of the night and was on base five times. Coco Crisp tried, in vain, to snare HGH's home run in the 10th and possibly hurt his left wrist.
(Did you see the sweat pouring off Giambi when he was back in the dugout? I could have put him in front of my house and watered my lawn. ... Jon Miller said he got that sweaty running out the home run.)
But the man at the helm -- in what was the first must-win game of the summer -- did not go for the throat. He didn't want to win. The choice of pitcher to start the eighth was not his only misstsep. Having Kevin Youkilis, the team's third-best hitter, bunt in the ninth was also the decision of an idiot (even Joe Morgan was surprised). The bunt did not work, and the Yankees intentionally walked Mike Lowell, leaving the game in the hands of Eric Hinske and Doug Mirabelli.
In the eighth inning on October 16, 2003, when the manager walked away from the mound and did not make a pitching change, John Henry -- who had wanted to fire the Grinning Jackass before the 2003 season even began -- turned to Larry Lucchino and asked (through gritted teeth, no doubt): "Can we fire him now?"
Last night, as he watched Francona make decisions that were 180 degrees away from everything the organization has been preaching for three years, I wonder what Henry was thinking.